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Milestones

Ava has been doing a lot of new things lately.  She’s making leaps in her cognitive abilities and motor skills.  For example, Ava has become very attached to this glowworm.  She’s a little teary in the picture because she cries if you don’t immediately go to her after her nap.

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When Ava is being fed and she’s tired, she rubs her eyes, grabs the top of her head, and slides her hand down her face.  Since her hand is usually filled with food, she transfers the food to her head.  I like to think of it as Ava creating a moisturizing avocado mask for herself.

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This part is mostly for me to remember, but if anyone is curious feel free to read.  I’ve been giving Ava small bits of our food.  She loves tzitziki sauce.  She’s also eaten small bits of scrambled eggs, salmon, and soup.  I need to wait on giving her soup again because she’s not good at slurping.  Today I made a blueberry puree and she loved it so much she burst into tears when I didn’t give it to her fast enough.  I also made a carrot and fava bean puree, which she liked.  The carrot and zucchini puree was too runny.  The blueberries can be added to her yogurt because she’s getting bored with eating yogurt.  She was willing to eat yogurt with hummus, but we think the hummus might be causing her to poop too much.

 

Ava is such a happy baby.  She smiles when she sees the three people in her inner circle: me, Jon, and her nanny.

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She’s starting to develop a fear of strangers (or people she only sees about once a month).  We took her to a celebration for the birth of Baha’u'llah a few weeks ago and she cried when anyone but Jon and I tried to hold her.  She broke a lot of hearts that day because before that, she would let anyone hold and cuddle her.

Ava is very tough.  She’s been pounding her arms and legs.  She’s especially active when I’m nursing her to sleep.  I have to pin her arm down or she’ll hit her head.  Some of the literature says it’s a soothing ritual.  A few weeks ago she would also pull her hair, but she seems to have stopped doing that.  I’m so glad that was a short phase because her hair is really starting to grow and soon she’ll have more than a few stray hairs to grab.  I’m wondering if the pounding is related to Ava’s new ability to move backwards when she’s laying on her back.

Ava has been doing a lip smacking thing that is very cute.  She sucks her lips in over her gums and smacks her lips together about four times.  She’s also continuing to experiment with her tongue.  Sometimes she won’t let us feed her in the morning because her tongue is blocking the way.

Utah is starting to get very cold so I’ve been putting Ava in two onsies.  The conventional way is to have a short-sleeve shirt first and then a long-sleeve shirt.  I prefer the reverse way because it means I only have to take off the top layer and then put pajamas on Ava for bed.  Plus, she looks like a cool hipster this way.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love stripes?

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I’ve always hoped that Ava and Teddy Roosevelt would become friends.  I grew up with birds, and while they helped me develop an understanding that animals should be treated kindly, I think dogs are better for this purpose because kids can interact with them at an earlier age.  Birds are very fragile and I wouldn’t let Ava play with the cockatiels unsupervised until she’s at least six.

 

She’s wearing a Boston Terrier onsie in the picture below.  It’s hard to make out because the onsie is so huge.  Ava is almost fitting 6-12 month onsies from the Gap perfectly, so I’m buying her clothing for one year olds these days.

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I think they’re finally developing a relationship.  Not only does Ava recognize Teddy, she reaches out to grab him.  Teddy is a great help when I’m cooking because Ava will stare at him in the kitchen while I cook instead of crying for me to hold her.

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When I feed Ava in the high chair, Teddy is always skulking about, hoping that she’ll drop some food.  I think he needs to wait a few more months for when she actively throws the food off her plate.  But in the meantime, Teddy provides a nice distraction.  I haven’t been able to get a good picture of the two of them looking at each other because they’re both too aware of the camera.

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Ava Is Six Months Old

Can you believe that Ava is already six months old?  It both feels like she was just born and that she’s always been with us.  I liked the headers that I used last month, so I’ll continue with that format.

 

Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava can sit unassisted.  She’s completely slumped over, but it’s a huge leap from having to be held while sitting.

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  • She can also use both hands to play with toys.
  • Ava’s grip is amazing.  She’s really good at yanking on hair.  She loves to pull Jon closer to her in the morning by grabbing his beard.  I have to remember to keep my hair pulled back or else she’ll try to pull it out.
  • If Teddy is nearby, Ava will reach for him.  Sometimes he licks her hand in response.
  • Ava developed a strong preference for different toys this month.  For a few days, she only wanted her octopus, I think because it felt good to chew on the cloth tentacles.  During the weekend she only wanted her firefly.

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  • Ava’s legs are getting stronger.  I expect that in the next couple months she’ll be able to stand with assistance.

Foods and Liquids

  • This month we added bananas, peanut butter, sweet potatoes, hummus, and teething biscuits to Ava’s diet.  Sweet potatoes were a huge hit.  Hummus was the only failure and I think it’s because I added too much garlic.  I also discovered that a baby can have horrible breath if she eats garlic.
  • Lately Ava’s intake of food has decreased.  I would be more concerned, but at her six-month checkup she was 17 pounds 13 ounces, which is 86% for weight.  The first time they measured her length, they said it was 26 inches, which is 65%.  I figured the measurement must be wrong because it would mean she only grew o.75 inches in two months.  They remeasured her and she was 26.5 inches.  Since she’s getting enough food to grow, I won’t try to force her to eat more.

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Sleep

  • Ava wakes up a minimum of three times during the night.  Her basic routine is to start sleeping by 8 pm, then she wakes up at 12 am, 2 am, and 4:30 am.  I usually bring her back in the bed after that.  She roots around to nurse a few times until 8 am, but it doesn’t really qualify as waking up.  She will frequently also wake up around 9:30 pm and 3:30 am.
  • I need to get tougher about letting her cry it out so I can eliminate that 2 am feeding.  I’m trying to stay strong, but for a few days I was so tired I didn’t wake up enough to know that I was supposed to let her cry it out until she’d been nursing for 10 minutes.  Her vaccinations also caused her sleeping schedule to break down.  In addition, I have to check on her each time she cries because she’s often gotten her feet or arms wedged in the slats of the crib.  The other morning she was on her stomach with both legs stuck in the slats of the crib.

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Noises

  • The pipes on this girl!  There were several days where she was yelling to test her voice.  I called Ava my little banshee.
  • Along with sleep training, Ava has learned to scream like a victim in a horror movie.  Last week she was awake when she should be sleeping and I wouldn’t let her nurse to sleep.  To show her disapproval, she screamed and screamed.  And then two minutes later she feel asleep.  Screaming is exhausting!

 

Picture for a Canvas

Help me out!  I want to get a canvas print of Ava’s current state for hanging on my wall at work.  Currently, I have a collage of pictures from a few days after she was born and it looks nothing like Ava anymore.

 

I have a general idea of what I want the picture to look like.  I want it to be Ava on the bed looking up at the camera.  But I’m not sure which of these is the best image.  Also, the bedroom was painted from yellow to blue last week and I think I prefer the blue.

 

1) I like everything about this picture except her collar droops down a little too much.  Also she’s not perfectly centered with the headboard.

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2) I don’t like the yellow background and her hair is a little too oily, but her head is so perfectly centered!

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3) Her head isn’t even remotely centered, but the expression is quintessential Ava.

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4) So, so drooly.  But, so, so cute.  Jon calls this one “The Combover.”

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5) I couldn’t get her to smile, but I love that puffy cheek thing she’s doing! Also, she’s wearing a penguin onsie!

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Which would you choose?

 

Me, Me, Me

You know what’s fun?  Looking at my Fitbit profile to see how much less I weigh now than I did a year ago.  You can see how spaced out the measurements get as my weight approached that peak.  I was very unhappy about the weight gain to say the least.  But you can also see from the slope after Ava was born how much of the peak was just ridiculous excess water weight.  My ankles were so swollen that I was wearing tights in May so that people couldn’t see my cankles.

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Being a working mother is ridiculously hard.  I can see why some mothers stop working a few months after having the baby and become SAHMs.  I know a lot of mothers suffer from guilt at leaving their baby, but our nanny is too amazing for that to be a problem.  I genuinely believe that Ava is better off with V. all day than she would be with me.  I haven’t gotten angry at Ava, but I worry that I would be if I was with her all day every day.  In the first few months with Ava, I was scared to be with her all weekend and have to listen to her cry for hours.  Now she hardly ever cries, and when she does I know how to fix it, and we have great structured weekends that I look forward to.  Who wouldn’t be excited to see this girl puff out her cheeks and blow air?

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The hardest part of working while raising an infant is the sleep deprivation.  I thought that I was doing fine because I wasn’t yawning all the time and I was staying awake.  But sleep deprivation is like insanity, you don’t realize how bad it is when you’re deep in it.  I relate to 90% of the symptoms of sleep deprivation in this article (mostly everything except the overproduction of urine).  My work became riddled with errors.  It used to be that I could print out something I wrote and find all the errors.  With sleep deprivation, I couldn’t find the errors!

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I’m very lucky to have Jon because he started taking over feeding Ava in the morning so I could get an extra hour of sleep.  Ava’s sleep is improving in the long run, but it’s a lot of mediocre nights with a few great nights thrown in as opposed to a few months ago when I would sometimes wake up wondering if I was dying.  I want to blame the poor sleep on teething, but can a baby be teething for an entire month?

 

Toes

Ava has figured out how to get her foot in her mouth.  She sucks on her big toe like it’s a nipple.  Sadly no milk has come out yet, but she’s still trying.

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Last Saturday the family went to a Halloween party on our street.  The existence of things like Halloween parties, by the way, is exactly why we moved to this block.  I know the names of more people on this street after three weeks than I knew on our previous street after 4.5 years.

Ava wasn’t so sure about her bat costume.

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The hat kept slipping down over her eyes.  She was remarkably tolerant considering how much she disliked the costume.  Especially when you consider that she’s been chewing on her hand so much to alleviate teething pain that she had a raw spot on her cheek.

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It didn’t really matter who was holding her; she was just not into the costume.  I was dressed as Khloe Kardashian and a Wookie because people say that Khloe Kardashian looks like Chewbacca.  No one got the joke, but I was understandably overshadowed by Ava.

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Today we had a Halloween party at work and Ava’s nanny brought her in for the party.  Ava was a lot happier without the hat.  She also got to hang out in my office.  I really hope that I can be a role model and she can get excited about visiting me in my office at work.  I think she’s destined for an office too; she looks too comfortable in that chair to not work in an office.

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You know that trope where people complain that women’s costumes for Halloween are always slutty?  How the costumes can make anything slutty?  My favorite is the slutty watermelon.  Well I give you a slutty bat.

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Ava Officially Rolls

For several weeks, Ava was experimenting with rolling, but never quite making it all the way over.  Any time you put her down, she would turn on her side.  She would even try to turn in her high chair.

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On Saturday Ava officially rolled over from her back to her front.  With this new development has come more changes.  Last night Ava only slept in two-hour increments instead of the glorious 4-6 hour blocks she’s been consistently sleeping.  I tried letting her cry it out, and she did sooth herself back to sleep after 15 minutes, but then she woke up again after 30 minutes.  When I found her she had rotated 180 degrees.  Specifically, I put her down with her head at the top of the crib and when I found her, her feet were at the top of the crib.  At another point during the night, she had rotated and wriggled herself into a corner of the crib.  Ava is also getting very close to sitting up by herself.  Next up, crawling!

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Ava has her six-month checkup on November 7th.  I’m pretty sure she’s going to rock those charts again.  She is long, long, long and very heavy, I’m guessing at least 18 pounds.  Teddy feels like he weights nothing at 14 pounds, which is funny because I used to pick him up and moan about how I was never going to be able to carry a 14 pound baby.

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Solids

What do you mean, “No more sweet potatos?”

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New House

I’ve been writing a post in my head all weekend about how hard being a working mother is, but I was too busy taking care of Ava and billing while she slept to write it.  So instead I bring you an easier post about our new house!

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This house is much smaller than our old house, but it’s a better fit for a number of reasons.  First, in our old house Ava’s nursery was on the first floor and our bedroom was on the second floor.  In this house, Ava’s nursery and our bedroom are on the first floor and Ava’s nursery is a little nook attached to the bedroom.  There are two bedrooms upstairs, one of which she can move into when she’s older.  Second, the laundry area is off the kitchen so I can do laundry whenever I want. At the old house the laundry area was near the living room, which made it hard to watch television while doing laundry. Third, the kitchen is big enough that I can finally use all of my dishes and two people can be in it at the same time without bumping into each other.  I can’t show you pictures of the kitchen yet, though, because I’m still rearranging things.  But the dining room is ready!

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We had that table custom made for our old house.  I’m so glad it looks good here.  The nice thing about Salt Lake City is that many of the houses are bungalows so your furniture will look good in a significant portion of the houses.  On to the living room!

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Behind the chairs in the picture above is a bookshelf.  During the move, we filled my car four times with books, DVDs, and music, among other things, and we still have more than this bookshelf can hold.  Thank goodness for ebooks, though, or else our basement would be overflowing.  Can you spot Audrey’s cremation box?

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The master bedroom is much smaller, but I think it’s pretty charming.  We will be painting it a light blue soon since it’s a bit bright.

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The birds have their own room, which is great for me because it was so hard to juggle a baby waking up every few hours and Stonewall singing if you made too much noise.  We’ve been making an effort to get the birds used to their room so they can be let out of their cages.  Trevor prefers to fly around and create general chaos so he can’t be out unsupervised.

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